Giving up alcohol completely for a month may seem like a daunting feat.
But better sleep, glowing skin, and a slimmer waist can motivate you to keep going.
If you take part in a sober October this year, you’ll already feel the health benefits, according to Karen Tyrell, chief executive of the charity Drinkaware.
Staying away from alcohol will help improve your mood in the morning and even reduce your risk of seven types of cancer and liver disease, he says.
Here, MailOnline looks at the impact quitting alcohol can have on your body.
Getting sober in October could give you healthier skin, sleep better, and even help you lose some weight.
The NHS recommends that adults drink no more than 14 units per week – that’s 14 single drinks of spirit or six pints of beer or one and a half bottles of wine.
It may seem obvious, but once you stop drinking you can also say goodbye to hangovers.
This means you will no longer feel nauseous, tired or irritable the next morning.
Instead, you can expect to feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep.
“If you stop drinking completely, one of the first things you’ll notice should be sleeping better and waking up more easily in the morning,” says Ms. Tyrell.
This is because alcohol disrupts an important stage of the sleep cycle.
Ms Tyrell said: “Although some people find that drinking alcohol helps them fall asleep faster, it disrupts the important rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, leaving you feeling tired the next day, regardless of how long you stay in bed.” ‘
But getting a better night’s sleep isn’t the only thing that will help you feel more cheerful.
Alcohol is a depressant and can worsen anxiety, so getting sober can also improve your mental health.
“Regular alcohol consumption interferes with brain chemicals that are vital for good mental health,” says Ms Tyrell.
No more hangovers will mean no more feeling nauseous, tired or irritable the next morning. Instead, you can expect to feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep.
He added: “So while you may initially feel relaxed after a drink, alcohol can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.”
“Not drinking makes it easier to cope with feelings of stress and anxiety.”
Avoiding alcohol for a couple of weeks could also leave your skin glowing.
Drinking can dehydrate your skin, leaving it looking puffy, dull, and dry.
This means that leaving it off can improve appearance and leave your skin looking healthier. says Mrs. Tyrell.
This is because alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it stimulates the body to urinate. When you drink, your skin loses fluids and nutrients necessary to stay healthy.
Additionally, alcohol can cause flare-ups of psoriasis, a condition that causes scaly skin, and rosacea, which causes redness on the face.
Whether you’re quitting smoking or simply limiting how much you drink, you’ll notice that your skin looks brighter the more hydrated it is.
Regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week (equivalent to six pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine) without any drink on days off damages the liver.
Drinkaware warns that this can cause jaundice, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, which is a sign of serious alcohol-related liver disease, says Drink Aware.
It’s no surprise that giving up alcohol helps you lose weight.
You can even see the benefits in your waistline after a few weeks without drinking alcohol.
Alcohol contains about seven calories per gram, which is equivalent to the calories in pure fat.
A pint of beer contains more than 200 calories and a standard 175ml glass of wine has more than 150 calories, according to the NHS. This is equivalent to one glazed donut or two chocolate digestifs, respectively.
A pint of beer contains more than 200 calories and a standard 175ml glass of wine has more than 150 calories, according to the NHS. So giving up alcohol for a month will help you lose some weight if you tend to drink a lot.
“If you are overweight and drink alcohol regularly, you will notice your weight decrease noticeably after you stop,” says Ms Tyrell.
He added: “A typical pint of beer contains the same amount of calories as a slice of pizza, and a large glass of wine the same as an ice cream.”
“So not drinking makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.”
Alcoholic beverages like wine and beer also contain extra calories from the sugars and starch in the drink.
But these extra calories are considered “empty calories,” meaning you don’t get any nutrients from these calories, making it very easy to gain weight.
Fourth week and beyond…
Alcohol has been linked to seven different types of cancer, including bowel cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer and mouth cancer.
Therefore, quitting has a great impact on your health.
Reduces the risk of cancer and liver disease, according to Drink Aware.
Simply stopping consumption for just one month will give your liver a chance to begin repairing itself and regenerating its cells.
“Although the liver is a resilient organ that can recover after damage, the risk of developing liver cancer or liver cirrhosis begins with low levels of alcohol consumption and increases the more you drink,” says Ms. Tyrell.
“Stopping drinking or giving the liver a regular rest can give it a chance to repair itself, but the less you drink, the more you reduce your risk.”
The liver often filters toxins from the blood, regulates sugar and cholesterol, and helps fight infections and diseases.
Therefore, giving him a break from alcohol may allow him to continue his duties rather than having to filter out the alcohol, experts say.
Although the liver is resilient, every time it filters alcohol some of its cells die, according to the NHS.
The more alcohol you drink, the harder it is for the liver to regenerate new cells.
Some liver damage caused by drinking is irreversible, for example cirrhosis of the liver, where the organ has become scarred. But getting sober can still prevent further harm and illness, says the NHS.
DO YOU DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL? THE 10 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL YOUR RISK
A screening tool widely used by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Testing). Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the 10-question test is considered the gold standard to help determine if someone has alcohol abuse problems.
The test has been reproduced here with permission from the WHO.
To complete it, answer each question and write down the corresponding score.
0-7: You are within the range of reasonable alcohol consumption and are at low risk for alcohol-related problems.
Over 8: Indicates harmful or dangerous consumption.
8-15: Medium risk level. Drinking at your current level puts you at risk of developing problems with your health and your life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting back (see tips below).
16-19: Increased risk of complications from alcohol. Cutting back on your own may be difficult at this level as you may be dependent, so you may need professional help from your GP and/or a counsellor.
20 and over: Possible dependency. Your alcohol consumption is already causing you problems and it is very possible that you are dependent. You should definitely consider stopping drinking gradually or at least reducing your alcohol consumption. You should seek professional help to determine the level of your dependence and the safest way to quit alcohol.
Severe dependence may require medically assisted withdrawal or detoxification in a hospital or specialized clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms occurring in the first 48 hours requiring specialized treatment.